Police tape marks the spot where a truck blew through the intersection of Skaha Lake Road and Channel Parkway and landed in the water late Wednesday. The driver and a passenger were OK. Police say a combination of speed and driver inattention are to blame for the accident.

Witness stunned as truck plunges into Skaha Lake

Penticton contractor says incident on Wednesday night was 'the weirdest thing I've ever seen'

Just before he shifted into rescue mode, Don Czerniak was momentarily stunned Wednesday night when he watched a pickup truck blow through an intersection and drive right into Skaha Lake.

“That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Right off the end of the Channel Parkway into the water. You could even see the vehicle in the air,” said Czerniak, a Penticton contractor.

The 2009 Dodge Ram went into Skaha Lake at the mouth of the Okanagan River just after 8 p.m. with the ambient temperature near 10 C.

According to the RCMP, the driver of the truck was heading southbound on Channel Parkway and rather than turning at the T intersection with Skaha Lake Road, the vehicle instead carried straight down a path that runs along a spit of land that juts out into the lake.

The truck went down the path about 50 metres before it veered into the water.

Czerniak was driving east on Skaha Lake Road and was about 20 m from the intersection when he saw the truck sail past.

“He just drove right in front of me right into the lake,” said Czerniak, adding the Dodge “didn’t slow down at all” and was travelling at approximately 70 kilometres per hour.

By the time Czerniak parked his truck and made it down to the water to help, the two vehicle occupants, a man and woman, had extricated themselves from the vehicle and were “shaken up,” but standing on shore.

The truck came to rest about 100 m out from the bridge over the river channel and its roof was just visible above the water line.

Penticton RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rick Dellebuur said police have ruled out drugs and alcohol as factors in the incident, which he instead attributed to a combination of “driver inattention and speed.”

Dellebuur said the driver, a 33-year-old male, and his passenger, a 49-year-old female, are from Penticton, and declined to go to hospital after being treated by paramedics at the scene.

Mounties are contemplating charges, Dellebuur added, including driving without due care and attention.

The truck was towed from the water Wednesday night, and by Thursday morning a window scraper and what appeared to be part of a side-view mirror were stuck in the ice that had formed along the shore of the river channel.

Dellebuur said survival time in cold water is relatively short, but the two people involved in the incident were fortunate because their vehicle sank only about 10 m from shore and in relatively shallow water.

“You’re always lucky in any type of these accidents to survive,” he said.


Just Posted

Vees rout Smoke Eaters 5-2

Penticton is up 2-0 in best-of-seven playoff series

Old timbers grace new Timmy’s

The newest Tim Hortons just outside of Oliver was officially opened Saturday

Penticton Bantam Elks hockey win league title

The Penticton bantam Rec 1 BPO Elks team won the South Central Bantam Recreation Championship

Strong showing for local gymnasts

Local competitors do well in provincials

Okanagan-Similkameen region’s natural beauty subject of photo contest

The South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club invites regional amateur photographers to submit their photos

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Most Read